• Student-centered college admissions counseling

    and education consulting

  • Welcome


    I'm Alex Ellison. Thanks for stopping by. There are plenty of details below, so I won't belabor you here. I just want to give you a gist of why I started doing this work in the first place and what that has to do with you/your student...


    I set out on my own in this business during the October of 2013 (two months after my daughter was born) after working for a large educational consulting firm. My drive emerged from two polarizing emotions regarding the current state of education, particularly in the US...


    1.) Love
    2.) Rage.



    Getting to know each student I was working with and seeing their unique (and brilliantly quirky) talents, skills, passions, and strengths has always been a constant source of inspiration for me. I love, love, love it (and I love, love, love them).



    But it also enraged me to know that many of them are fed myths of a prescribed, outmoded, unoriginal, unfulfilling, and uninspiring path that may have worked for their teachers (and teacher's teachers), but in no way fits into the world they're living in now.


    Love + Rage = Fuel to do this important work.


    Empowering students to walk a path - during and after high school - of their choosing still sets my soul on fire.


    Since day one, I've set out to do one thing... And that is to be an advocate for the student first. Not the teachers, administrators, state, or even parents.


    This transformative work gives me goosebumps and I can't wait to share it with you and your student.

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  • About

    We offer a bold (but lighthearted) approach to college admissions counseling and SAT/ACT Prep to students around the world


    High school is a tall order for any student. Within a very short time period, students must find out who they are as humans, what they like, and what they’re good at, while, at the same time, meeting the demands of class assignments, friends, family, and extracurriculars.


    Supporting a student who is going through this time of life is a chore. As tough as it is, school counselors, mentors, teachers, and coaches do incredibly well with the resources they’re given (as do we parents).


    But let’s face it. There are a lot of gaps that need to be filled.


    Our mission is to fill those gaps. And to fill them in a way that's focused on the long-term fulfillment and well-being of the student.


    There are a few guideposts we have for the work we do. We feel we’re doing our job when your student…


    • Enjoys the process
    • Increases their self-awareness so they can foster their true strengths
    • Grows enthusiastic about high school and their life after graduation – not more intimidated by it.
    • Finds an experience/college after high school that fits them (not the other way around).

    This is why we work in a lighthearted (albeit just serious enough) fashion. We’ve found this is what keeps them engaged. We rate ourselves, not through the approval of famous colleges, but through the beaming students who graduate from our program and go on to live authentic lives.


    We work virtually with students around the world.

    Where to go from here

  • From the students

    Don't take my word for it...

  • Kind Words

    I get giddy every time I read these...

    "Soka was the perfect place for Aaron - he is a different person! He hasn’t played World of Warcraft since he left home When I text him to check in, he texts back 'Don’t worry, I’m thriving'. Thank you again." - Kris Kuyper, Mother

    "I just wanted to let you know that I am LOVING Berkeley. It feels like such a perfect fit...You were so helpful throughout the entire process and so far it's been a big success :)" -Eliza M., Student

    "Thank you, Alex, for all of your support, guidance, encouragement and expertise...You are a treasure! We are so thankful you are in Nicole's Life!" - Jim and Cindy B., Parents

    "Alex’s worldly experiences coupled with her training and experience as an educational consultant create a perfect relationship that our students find very valuable. Alex is a very important part of our students’ global experience." - Chris Case, Global Studies Director, McQueen High School

  • My journey

    It's been a crazy ride, but here are the major checkpoints in this adventure so far...

    BA, Northwestern University

    In German and Business

    Thought I wanted to be an international diplomat of some sort (oh how things change as we grow)

    Fulbright Commission

    Teaching English in Austria

    Spent several months living in Austria and teaching high school students about American culture and language

    Service Learning Coordinator

    University of Nevada

    Built a service learning program in the Honors Program at the University of Nevada

    Certificate in College Counseling


    Completed my certificate in UCLA's College Counseling program

    Founder, Dunce Labs

    Reno, NV

    Went out on my own and try a fresh, lighthearted, student-centric approach to college admissions counseling

    Researched the Swiss Higher Education System

    Think Swiss

    Spent two months in Switzerland researching their educational system and how elements of it can be applied to the US

    TEDx Speaker

    University of Nevada

    Gave a Tedx Talk titled 'Educating the Next Generation of Job Hoppers'

    SXSW Speaker

    South by Southwest - Austin, TX

    Gave a talk at SXSW Edu titled 'Gen-Z is for Sensibility'

    Masters of Public Administration

    University of Nevada

    Received my Masters in Public Administration and Policy with a Higher Education Emphasis at UNR

  • Drop Your Note Here

    I can't wait to hear from you...